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katz

Having second thoughts about the Great Barrier Reef

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We have book an ship's excursion to the reef on our next cruise.  I would like to know what to expect on a typical trip to the reef.  I can swim and am 71 years old without any mobility issues.  Is this an excursion I should be doing?  I know this is silly, but I am afraid of sharks and have this in the back of my mind.

 

Thank you for your help.

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Sounds like you’ll be fine.

 

they aren’t going to risk taking you anywhere you are likely to come across sharks how long do you think they’d stay in business that way?

 

BUT

 

If your stressing over it now, look for an alternative. 

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I agree with Gut,they wouldn't take you somewhere unsafe.

A bit more information would be good, do they take you to a floating platform or a island? Is the boat trip very long? Is the boat a large boat?

If you google the excursion and town there would be information.

 

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To be 100% honest the Great Barrier Reef is dead, dull and unimpressive. Nothing but dead coral, scattered remains of coral, murky waters and an abundance of nothing. 

 

Those cruise ship tours are trading off past reputation by going to areas that they know are dead and have no coral and make no apologies about it. Apparently there is still some good coral left on the massive reef, but just now where cruise ships go or you need to be a certified diver to go.

 

In all honesty I could drag up photos of where the ships tours go on the Great Barrier Reef and you would be likely not to do the excursion and find something better to do for the day.

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One way I look at it is whether or not you would have the chance to do it again.

 

Next, whether or not you are fit and healthy enough. As Chiliburn has said, check on the facilities available for resting, or for alternative forms of viewing if too tired, etc.

 

Then consider the amount of scaremongering that goes on. Yes there are sharks, but they are not normally the types that attack people. Safely, there are no drop bears on the reef. Other things in the water could potentially be more dangerous, but the excursion people are equipped to deal with these.

 

coral bleaching/reef death is a reality. The worst affected areas are from Cairns/port Douglas northwards. Next area south is declared moderate. Operators will take tours to areas where there is coral and fish to be seen. An incredibly stupid business model to do otherwise.

 

I have never been out to the reef before. However, I plan to go from Airlie Beach on a ship excursion in November. I am taking into account the factors of distance, time, pontoon, alternative viewing, etc., to have the experience

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I have been to the reef only once and considered it an honour and a privilege  to be able to see and experience one of the Wonders of the World.

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1 hour ago, Docker123 said:

One way I look at it is whether or not you would have the chance to do it again.

 

Next, whether or not you are fit and healthy enough. As Chiliburn has said, check on the facilities available for resting, or for alternative forms of viewing if too tired, etc.

 

Then consider the amount of scaremongering that goes on. Yes there are sharks, but they are not normally the types that attack people. Safely, there are no drop bears on the reef. Other things in the water could potentially be more dangerous, but the excursion people are equipped to deal with these.

 

coral bleaching/reef death is a reality. The worst affected areas are from Cairns/port Douglas northwards. Next area south is declared moderate. Operators will take tours to areas where there is coral and fish to be seen. An incredibly stupid business model to do otherwise.

 

I have never been out to the reef before. However, I plan to go from Airlie Beach on a ship excursion in November. I am taking into account the factors of distance, time, pontoon, alternative viewing, etc., to have the experience

Sadly tour operators still do take people to dead areas because the tourists are none the wiser. It cost them a lot of money to set up their designated pontoon and when all the coral has died around it the pontoon remains so they keep taking tourists there.

 

Sadly all of the areas I have been to are dead and destroyed.

 

On the other hand coral in Noumea, Vanuatu, Isle of Pines, Norfolk Island, and further afield like the Caribbean of Curacao, Barbados still does exist. Sadly the coral is pretty much all dead. They are trading off past reputation and people who have not seen live coral before are none the wiser.

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As a public service, would you care to tell us which areas you went to and which to our operators?

 

That would help members on this board do some informed planning.

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Being an older person at the reef pontoon I did the snorkelling following the ropes.

A couple of observations, it took a while for me to get the courage to jump off the pontoon (deep water) with a lifejacket on and swim a short distance to start of the rope near the reef. There was considerable tidal movement when we were snorkelling and it was a couple of hours travelling there and a bit rough coming back.

Saying that I’m glad to have visited the reef.

But on another visit to Airlie, we did the Oceanrafting. A ship tour which is a shortened version of the usual tour. Lasted for a couple of hours and we swam or snorkelled off Hook Is and another island near Hayman Is. (swim noodles included).  Enjoyed it immensely but you needed reef shoes at one spot.

F0E5C8E0-CDD5-4295-AD45-6C17F055A833.jpeg

4E97A36E-F65C-4A69-AC76-F616FF3E1F10.jpeg

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Spent 4 days in Cairns in December and did the reef tour to the Agincourt floating platford    It was an excellent day even though it rained most of the time  There were sufficienmt dry times to do the things we wanted to do  swim and etc and my daughter did the helmet walk on the floor

Very safe and there is quite a lot of coral to see even though for us the sea was rough and therefore not as clear to look through  I am 79 so do not let your age be a factor

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OP will be fine swimming off the pontoon, there is also pool noodles available for those that may need some extra floatation.

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I do not agree that the GBR is mainly dead. There has been some damage, but it is mostly confined to the far north - Lizard Island and further north. There is only moderate to limited damage in other areas. Even in the damaged areas, re-generation has been faster than expected.

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54 minutes ago, Aus Traveller said:

I do not agree that the GBR is mainly dead. There has been some damage, but it is mostly confined to the far north - Lizard Island and further north. There is only moderate to limited damage in other areas. Even in the damaged areas, re-generation has been faster than expected.

I too have seen the devastation after the various cyclones and other destructive elements but to say it is totally dead is ridiculous. The pontoons are moved periodically so that the reef can recover.

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On 1/11/2019 at 4:48 AM, katz said:

We have book an ship's excursion to the reef on our next cruise.  I would like to know what to expect on a typical trip to the reef.  I can swim and am 71 years old without any mobility issues.  Is this an excursion I should be doing?  I know this is silly, but I am afraid of sharks and have this in the back of my mind.

 

Thank you for your help.

 

More people have died from heart attacks while snorkelling than from sharks !

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1 hour ago, PerfectlyPerth said:

 

More people have died from heart attacks while snorkelling than from sharks !

Heart attacks after being stuck by stingers and the likes of jellyfish. It was the stinger that got them first and then the heart attack after they were stung and had to exert energy to swim back.

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5 minutes ago, Brisbane41 said:

Heart attacks after being stuck by stingers and the likes of jellyfish. It was the stinger that got them first and then the heart attack after they were stung and had to exert energy to swim back.

 

Nope - if you check news articles over the past 2 years it was heart attacks period - nothing to do with stingers. Nor sharks.

Edited by PerfectlyPerth

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1 hour ago, PerfectlyPerth said:

 

Nope - if you check news articles over the past 2 years it was heart attacks period - nothing to do with stingers. Nor sharks.

Check your references again. It was jellyfish stings.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/dec/01/snorkeller-suffers-heart-attack-from-irukandji-sting-in-far-north-qld

 

https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/french-tourists-likely-bitten-by-irukandji-jellyfish-cardiologist/news-story/437d5119392540cfcdd687bd83c6c190 - Read this fully they said not stingers but the jellyfish.

 

 

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26 minutes ago, Brisbane41 said:

The Cardiologist speculated that the recent deaths were from the jelly fish but it was not the coroners findings.

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From Medical Journal of Australia, analysis 1994-2006.

These are things like analyses of coroners’ reports, not someone speculating

 

they identified 2 who had been stung by irukanjis. 

 

 We identified 140 snorkelling-related deaths. Forensic details were available for 130 of these. Four principal cause-of-death categories were identified: deaths from cardiac or suspected cardiac causes (60), deaths from surface drowning (largely in inexperienced snorkellers) (33), deaths from drowning after prolonged breath-hold diving (largely in experienced divers) (19), and deaths from trauma (10). Eight people died of other causes.

 

 

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We went with this company a couple of weeks ago booked through the cruise ship

If you look through the link it shows you what the company provides

https://greatadventures.com.au/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAvebhBRD5ARIsAIQUmnkzm46BBmSlVg3VgMjuo9dKLfdje63er8BejP94TbtAY64mRdTXt8saAhtMEALw_wcB

Not a bad day its just a pity that there was no "colour" there. We didn't get into the water as everybody was saying they had to keep pushing the jelly fish out of the way. We just went on the glass bottom boat. Wish we had gone to the reef years ago. I don't know if there is better times of the year to go. We didn't go to the Green Island as we took a 10 minute helicopter ride then offered a free ride back to the shore as they had two spare seats and it would have saved the helicopter going through the take off and landing drama for just the two of us then flying back to the shore

GREAT BARRIER REEF 2.jpg

GREAT BARRIER REEF 2.jpg

GREAT BARRIER REEF FROM THE AIR.jpg

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Thank you, The Cat, for the website.  I feel better kind of knowing what to expect.  We are going on an excursion with Oceania Cruise Line in March.

 

Also, thank you to everyone for your input.  I appreciate it!!

Edited by katz
wanted to add more information

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45 minutes ago, katz said:

We are going on an excursion with Oceania Cruise Line in March.

You are also going to Komodo ?

Some of the tours there include a visit to Pink beach.

The snorkelling there is OK, especially along the western end.

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22 hours ago, Tranquility Base said:

You are also going to Komodo ?

Some of the tours there include a visit to Pink beach.

The snorkelling there is OK, especially along the western end.

We chose to go see the dragons.  We have a few beach trips planned.  We are doing two segments of the ATW, Sydney to Tokyo, then Tokyo to Singapore.

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On ‎1‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 1:43 AM, Docker123 said:

 

From Medical Journal of Australia, analysis 1994-2006.

These are things like analyses of coroners’ reports, not someone speculating

 

they identified 2 who had been stung by irukanjis. 

 

 We identified 140 snorkelling-related deaths. Forensic details were available for 130 of these. Four principal cause-of-death categories were identified: deaths from cardiac or suspected cardiac causes (60), deaths from surface drowning (largely in inexperienced snorkellers) (33), deaths from drowning after prolonged breath-hold diving (largely in experienced divers) (19), and deaths from trauma (10). Eight people died of other causes.

 

 

Oh great, now I have to worry about jellyfish too ;).

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24 minutes ago, katz said:

We chose to go see the dragons.  

As did we.

 

The 2 times we have been there (not on Oceania though), after the dragon walk the tour had us catching a boat round to pink beach for snorkelling. There was even a chap there selling ice cold Bintang.

They put your bag with your snorkel gear onto the boat for you so you didn't have to carry that with you on the dragon walk.

It was very little extra money for an extra 3 hours added on.

 

But I don't know if Oceania does such a combo tour. 

Edited by Tranquility Base

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5 hours ago, katz said:

Oh great, now I have to worry about jellyfish too ;).

The jellyfish are found close to the shore (they breed in the creeks), not on the outer reef. If there is a chance of jellyfish, the tour operator will supply what is called 'stinger suits'. Don't be put off by the negative comments.

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3 hours ago, Aus Traveller said:

The jellyfish are found close to the shore (they breed in the creeks), not on the outer reef. If there is a chance of jellyfish, the tour operator will supply what is called 'stinger suits'. Don't be put off by the negative comments.

agreed.

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9 hours ago, Tranquility Base said:

As did we.

 

The 2 times we have been there (not on Oceania though), after the dragon walk the tour had us catching a boat round to pink beach for snorkelling. There was even a chap there selling ice cold Bintang.

They put your bag with your snorkel gear onto the boat for you so you didn't have to carry that with you on the dragon walk.

It was very little extra money for an extra 3 hours added on.

 

But I don't know if Oceania does such a combo tour. 

 

We were with Seabourn and used Seabourns zodiacs to go directly from the ship to Pink Beach

I actually didn't go for a snorkel there as I got left behind as I was talking to one of the Venture Team. The wife went for the snorkel though and said it was excellent. Seabourn had inflated rubber tubes for the people to hang onto

There was definitely lots of jelly fish at the pontoon over the  reef when we were there. We were quite happy just to go on the glass bottom boat as they didn't want people sitting on the seats with wet clothes. Thats why we went on the glass bottom boat first then saw what was happening so didn't bother putting on the stinger suites

Another from the glass bottom boat which as you can see why we didn't bother getting wet

GREAT BARRIER REEF.jpg

Edited by Thecat123

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DEAD?? it's not dead.  It was the single most spectacular thing I've ever seen.  We went with Wavelength out of Port Douglas. Absolutely spectacular. 

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Agreed. I have snorkelled in many places around the world and it is still very much a vibrant living reef with multiple colours which can really only be seen by the eye as cameras do not do it justice (even with a flash). The glass bottomed boat makes everything look shades of blue as do cameras.

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5 hours ago, Cruise Junky said:

DEAD?? it's not dead.  It was the single most spectacular thing I've ever seen.  We went with Wavelength out of Port Douglas. Absolutely spectacular. 

It is dead, dull and boring. Nothing spectacular there to see.

 

I have snorkelled at Barbados, Curacao, Isla De Margarita, Apia, Savusavu, Dravuni Island, Isle of Pines, Lifou, Noumea (and surroundings), Port Vila (and surroundings after the damage), Norfolk Island. All of those places in my opinion are far superior in terms of being spectacular that the disappointment, dismal sight I found at the Great Barrier Reef.

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4 minutes ago, Brisbane41 said:

It is dead, dull and boring. Nothing spectacular there to see.

 

I have snorkelled at Barbados, Curacao, Isla De Margarita, Apia, Savusavu, Dravuni Island, Isle of Pines, Lifou, Noumea (and surroundings), Port Vila (and surroundings after the damage), Norfolk Island. All of those places in my opinion are far superior in terms of being spectacular that the disappointment, dismal sight I found at the Great Barrier Reef.

Then we obviously weren't snorkeling in the same spot.  Mine was the best we've ever experienced.  Absolutely stunning.  There was not a spot of bleaching or dead coral.  My comparisons would be all over Hawaii and the Caribbean.

Edited by Cruise Junky

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46 minutes ago, Brisbane41 said:

It is dead, dull and boring. Nothing spectacular there to see.

 

I have snorkelled at Barbados, Curacao, Isla De Margarita, Apia, Savusavu, Dravuni Island, Isle of Pines, Lifou, Noumea (and surroundings), Port Vila (and surroundings after the damage), Norfolk Island. All of those places in my opinion are far superior in terms of being spectacular that the disappointment, dismal sight I found at the Great Barrier Reef.

The GBR is the largest reef system in the world. Just because you have seen a tiny part of it that is "dead, dull and boring" does not mean that the rest of the reef is. I wasn't impressed with the coral around Green Island, but this isn't the outer reef. Other areas I have been to were spectacular.

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3 hours ago, Aus Traveller said:

The GBR is the largest reef system in the world. Just because you have seen a tiny part of it that is "dead, dull and boring" does not mean that the rest of the reef is. I wasn't impressed with the coral around Green Island, but this isn't the outer reef. Other areas I have been to were spectacular.

Agreed, and compared to anywhere else I have been (including Port Vila, Lifou and Isle of Pines), the parts of the GBR that I saw, beat it hands down in terms of fish and coral.

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Maybe it’s where I’ve snorkelled in the GBR but I found it rather disappointing. Have seen much better in other countries. And nothing beats the Maldives.  

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19 minutes ago, Pushka said:

Maybe it’s where I’ve snorkelled in the GBR but I found it rather disappointing. Have seen much better in other countries. And nothing beats the Maldives.  

I will see for myself next month.

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1 hour ago, MicCanberra said:

I will see for myself next month.

You are off to the Maldives? Enjoy! 

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14 hours ago, Aus Traveller said:

The GBR is the largest reef system in the world. Just because you have seen a tiny part of it that is "dead, dull and boring" does not mean that the rest of the reef is. I wasn't impressed with the coral around Green Island, but this isn't the outer reef. Other areas I have been to were spectacular.

As much as I love Australia I wish I could say that it was great. Its just a fact every time and place I have been there it has been dismal. On the other side the first time I took to the waters in Lifou and New Caledonia and even the Caribbean it was like striking gold the moment you entered the water.

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